The penetration behavior of Kevlar fabric intercalated with dry particles and shear thickening fluids (STF), highly concentrated fluid-particle suspensions, is presented. In particular, the role of particle hardness is explored by comparing fabric treatments containing SiO2 particles, which are significantly harder than Kevlar, to treatments containing softer poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) particles. The fabric testing includes yarn pull-out, quasi-static spike puncture, and ballistic penetration resistance, performed on single fabric layers. It was found that both dry particle and STF treatments resulted in improvements in fabric properties relative to neat or poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) treated fabrics. On comparison of treatments with different particle hardness, the SiO2 materials performed better in all tests than comparable PMMA materials, although the SiO2 treatments caused yarn failure in pull-out testing, reducing the total pull-out energy. In addition, resistance to yarn pull-out was found to be substantially higher for STF-treated fabrics than for dry particle treated fabrics. However, both dry particle addition and STF treatments exhibited comparable enhancements in puncture and ballistic resistance. These observations suggest that viscous stress transfer, friction, and physical entrainment of hard particles into filaments contribute to the demonstrated improvements in the properties of protective fabrics treated with shear thickening fluids.